December 9, 2023
In a Jefferson County DUI case, Denver DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez achieved a Careless Driving disposition where the client had originally been charged with DUI. In this case, because the client had prior alcohol-related convictions, he was facing a guaranteed jail sentence. However, upon closely analyzing the case, Mr. Martinez identified a significant legal issue.
In Colorado DUI cases, though an individual does not need to be literally driving a vehicle at the time of police contact, they do need to be in “actual physical control” of their vehicle. “Actual physical control” is a legal standard developed by the Colorado courts, and it essentially requires that an individual be in a position to operate a vehicle with minimal effort. So, if police find a defendant in a vehicle which can be operated with minimal effort, and the defendant is at least impaired by alcohol, the individual can be charged with DUI or DWAI.
However, in this case, Mr. Martinez successfully convinced the prosecutor that she would not be able to prove to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had been in actual physical control of any vehicle. As a result, the client was able to plead to Careless Driving, thereby avoiding a DUI-related license revocation, as well as the probation and monitored sobriety that accompany a DUI or DWAI conviction.